For the new tour for legendary rocker Alice Cooper, his new guitarist Nita Strauss is being helpful in bridging the generation gap. The twenty-seven year old six-stringer is younger than most of the fans coming to Cooper’s highly theatrical shows. For the guitarist herself, it does not bother her since she enjoys performing the great hard rock music that came before she was born.
Nita Strauss is probably better known as the guitarist for The Iron Maidens, an all-female tribute band for heavy metal group Iron Maiden. She has also been a member of bands including 80s rockers Femme Fatale and LA Kiss. Music is practically in her blood. She comes from a family of musicians and thanks to her father, she got a guitar. The inspiration she got to take the guitar seriously was by seeing the film Crossroads, starring Ralph Macchio. In the film, legendary guitarist Steve Vai is featured. Vai has made a name for himself not only with his own solo work, but also by playing with guitar icon Frank Zappa and with singer David Lee Roth during his departure from the group Van Halen.
To this day, Strauss still lists Steve Vai as one of her biggest influences. As her technique got to develop she began to hit the stage. She has played with video game tribute band Critical Hit and with Jermaine Jackson. When she and The Iron Maidens began gaining popularity she had also gotten great attention from fans and musicians. She even placed number one in guitarworld.com’s ‘10 Female Guitar Players You Should Know’.
How she got to be a part of Alice Cooper’s band was and introduction by rocker and lead singer for the band Winger, Kip Winger. Winger got to see Strauss perform on a cruise called Monsters of Rock and he clearly saw that she had talent. When the singer got word that Alice Cooper was looking for a new guitarist, he recommended the female six-stringer. Strauss made contact with Cooper’s manager and producer. They sent her a few songs to learn and after she learned them, she joined the band. The addition of Alice Cooper’s new guitarist would help bridge the generation gap of his fans and concert attendees.
Following the release of Cooper’s new film, Super Duper Alice Cooper, the band began touring this past July. One of the first gigs that Strauss got to be a part of was when Cooper shared the stage at the Hollywood Bowl with 80s metal band Motley Crue, who are on their final tour this year. While many of the songs are songs that came before Strauss’ time, she has noticed from the concert crowd that the music transcends age. Throughout the stands there are young kids wearing Cooper and Crue t-shirts and singing along to songs like Dr. Feelgood and Billion Dollar Babies.
In current news, the public is learning of the death of Cooper’s former guitarist, Dick Wagner. Wagner and Cooper shared not only a great friendship, but also a great collaboration partnership. It was Wagner who wrote most of Cooper’s hit song Welcome to My Nightmare. The guitar player passed away at the age of seventy-one in Arizona due to medical issues.
For the time being, Cooper and his fans mourn the loss of Wagner. The singer has not made any statements yet about continuing on the tour. For new guitarist Nita Strauss, she will go on knowing that she has shared the stage with one of rock music’s living legends and will continue to inspire future guitarists, male and female. Her talents have the ability to bridge generation gaps, whether she is the new guitarist for Alice Cooper or for other famous artists in music.
By Andrew Cerecedes